This stunning Mediterranean salad is tangy and fresh, featuring fresh cilantro and parsley, chickpeas, bulgur wheat, currants, and lemon.

Mediterranean Salad with Chickpeas

Here’s a salad that is everything fresh! This Mediterranean salad with chickpeas is the perfect study of counterpoints: chewy bulgur wheat, savory chickpeas, fresh aromatic cilantro, spicy red onion, sweet currants, and tangy lemon. It’s one of those “wow” factor recipes, from the first bite! Alex and I love hearty soups, stews, and casseroles as much as anything, but sometimes it’s fun to shake it up a bit! It was inspired by the highlight of London-based chef Yottam Ottolenghi in this month’s issue of Bon Appetit. Keep reading for how to make it!

Bulgur wheat | Mediterranean salad with chickpeas

Making this Mediterranean salad

This salad was inspired by London-based chef Yottam Ottolenghi and his hit cookbook, Plenty. His fresh, Mediterranean recipes make vegetable-heavy cooking look positively glamorous. And after tasting some of his flavors, we realized they don’t just look pretty: they taste amazing.

This Mediterranean salad is an adaptation of a bulgur salad that is served alongside grilled eggplant in the book. We love idea of the play between sweet currants, tangy lemon, salty pistachios, and the bite of the fresh herbs. We changed it up quite a bit to use a lot more bulgur wheat, and added chickpeas to make for a more filling vegetarian dish. To serve, we paired it with our “famous” spiced roasted cauliflower. It’s a stunning side dish and would be perfect alongside grilled fish or meat as well.

How to cook bulgur wheat

So, what is bulgur wheat? Bulgur wheat is a whole wheat grain that has been cracked and partially pre-cooked. Not only does it have a delicious chewy texture, nutty flavor, and a high nutritional content, but it cooks quickly. For this recipe, make sure to find fine-grind or medium-grind bulgur wheat, since these types cook the fastest.

How to cook bulgur wheat? Here’s all you have to do. Boil some water in a teapot. Once boiling, pour it over the bulgur wheat and let it soak for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, fluff the bulgur with a fork. That’s it! It’s basically a “no cook” recipe because you’re not really cooking on the stovetop in the traditional sense.

Mediterranean salad with chickpeas

The pair of the salad and cauliflower was perfect – an array of tastes and textures that left us craving more! This meal made a wonderful compliment to an evening with some of our dearest friends – it would also make for a great lunch option to bring to work (the leftovers save well). Let us know if you give it a try and what you think in the comments below!

Get it: For more, check out Yottam Ottolenghi’s new cookbook, Plenty.

Looking for more recipes with bulgur wheat?

If you buy bulgur wheat for this recipe and are looking to use it up, here are a few recipes with bulgur:

Looking for salad recipes?

Outside of this Mediterranean salad recipe, here are a few favorite salad recipes:

This Mediterranean salad recipe is…

Vegetarian, plant-based, vegan, and dairy-free.

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Mediterranean Salad with Chickpeas

  • Author: a Couple Cooks
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 4 to 6 1x


This stunning Mediterranean salad is tangy and fresh, featuring fresh cilantro and parsley, chickpeas, bulgur wheat, currants, and lemon.


  • 2 cups fine- or medium-grind bulgur wheat*
  • 1/2 medium red onion
  • ½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 cup currants or raisins
  • ½ cup pistachios
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice, plus lemon zest (1 large or 2 small lemons)
  • 1 15 ounce can chickpeas (or 1 ½ cups cooked)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • Fresh ground pepper


  1. Boil 2 cups of water. In a medium bowl or sealable container, place the bulgur wheat and 2 cups boiling water. Cover and allow to sit until tender: about 7 minutes for fine-grind and 15 minutes for medium-grind bulgur.
  2. Meanwhile, thinly slice the red onion. Chop the cilantro and parsley. Crush the pistachios (you can place them in a handkerchief or plastic bag and pound with a rolling pin or other heavy item). Juice and zest the lemon. Drain and rinse the chickpeas (if canned).
  3. When the bulgur is ready, in a large bowl, combine bulgur, red onion, parsley, cilantro, chickpeas, currants, lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, kosher salt, and plenty of fresh ground pepper. Taste, and adjust flavors as necessary.
  4. To serve, garnish with pistachios, or stir them in to the salad. (If desired, you could serve with a dollop of Greek yogurt.)


*Avoid coarse or extra-coarse bulgur, since the cooking instructions are different.

Adapted from Yottam Ottolenghi

  • Category: Salad
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Mediterranean

Keywords: Mediterranean Salad, Chickpea Salad, Bulgur Salad, Salad Recipes, Vegan Salad Recipes, Mediterranean Recipes, Mediterranean Diet


About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Meet Sonja and Alex Overhiser: Husband and wife. Expert home cooks. Authors of recipes you'll want to make again and again.

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  1. What I love the most about your recipes is seasonality. You truly give me faith about it as I plan to move to the US soon. Being Italian, it’s out of question to eat seasonal food, but I am so scared of losing it moving to the other side of the ocean…thanks for inspiring me and making me change my mind! I love every single recipe you two make! My husband and I eat in a very similar way and I am glad to find these similarities, I don’t feel an alien at least…:)

    1. Oh, how nice! Thank you for the nice compliments. So glad that we could help change your mind about American eating! Where are you moving to? Best of luck with the transition! (We’d gladly trade you and move to Italy :) )

  2. Hi guys! I just discovered your blog over the weekend and I am loving everything I see. Your photographs are simply beautiful.

    This salad looks amazing and so healthy, right up my alley. I love eating meals like this for lunch when the kids are in school. I am also a huge fan of roasted cauliflower and tend to throw that in anything. I can’t wait to give this recipe a try.

  3. I just love your recipes. they always come at the time I am thinking about the ingredients! I agree with Valeria & the seasonality of your recipes. HURRAH!

  4. Love the dollop of Greek yogurt on the side – a perfect accompaniment. I’m not a huge chickpea fan, though I keep trying and trying. I do LOVE bulgur, though – actually just posted bulgur on my blog today. :) This looks really delicious.

  5. Hey guys, I was just remarking on the weird fact that we both put out roasted cauliflower salads with grain and chickpeas. Weird…and they are side by side on Tasteologie. Great minds do think alike!

    Oh and I love your new (to me!) picture as well…;)

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